Be The Earth was proud to support a New Constellations retreat in September 2023 at the beautiful 42 Acres in Somerset. This programme, called The Journey, takes inspiring leaders on immersive journeys of reflection and discovery, to examine the reality of the status quo, explore expansive possibilities for the future, and consider what true transformation will take at the levels of self, group and system.
At this moment in time, it seems as if much of the world is feeling lost, calling out for brave souls to seek new pathways towards human and planetary flourishing. Cultivating inspired and compassionate leadership to rise to the challenges of these turbulent times is at the heart of Be The Earth’s mission.
New Constellations provide immersive experiences for individuals and groups called the journey to help people imagine and create more beautiful futures. These are innovative, experimental spaces for people to examine the moment of upheaval we are living through, and to imagine and begin shaping the brighter futures we believe can emerge from it: futures in which humanity and the planet flourish together.
Embarking on the Journey
Be The Earth was delighted to support a New Constellations retreat at the beautiful 42 Acres, a wellbeing retreat centre and regenerative farm stay in rural Somerset in September 2023. Participants undertook a guided journey to question the status quo, become more comfortable with uncertainty, consider what true transformation will take at the levels of self, group, and system, and to establish bold new visions for what’s possible.
There was rich diversity in terms of age, background, political leaning, and lived experience among attendees of this retreat, including leaders of grassroots groups, someone who previously ran a large international campaigning organisation, and even a musician who collaborates with the natural world in his music. Often, participants have found themselves here at a transition point, considering their next calling.
Navigating by the stars
New Constellations encourages people to “bring your head, your heart and your gut” to the journey, co-creator Lily Piachaud explains, welcoming the whole human, not just the work they do.
“The opening circle doesn’t focus on job titles. It's more about asking how people are feeling, and about the many roles they play in their life”. This vulnerability allows people to go deep quite quickly and to embrace difficult conversations with trust and an open heart.
Then group exercises begin with the idea of preparing to go on a journey, involving embodied work like breathing exercises, meditation, and guided visualisations alongside rational and empirical frameworks, discussion and analysis. Next, they embark on to a metaphorical ocean, using tools and resources to navigate radical uncertainty.
They map guiding principles collectively before everyone creates their own ornate star chart - a personal constellation to provide orientation through dark times. “We use the idea of the stars because, for millennia, human beings have used the stars for navigation, as guide points to head towards across the vast and uncertain seas” founder and co-creator Gemma Mortensen shares on their blog, “We can dream of a different future but we need some guideposts to reach it.”
At the close of the session, people set foot on solid ground once again, nurturing a new sparkle within themselves, flickering like starlight.
Ripples on the water
If you drop a pebble into a pond, ripples reverberate across the surface and move waters far away from the contact point. When a group of people take time to reflect, to connect, share ideas, and offer to help one another, waves of change, both subtle and substantial, echo out widely into their lives, work and communities.
Participants in the journey found themselves moved and altered by the experience. One reflected: “The experience created an invaluable bond, serving as a beacon of hope and light during these dark times." Another said: “This invitation to envision new glimmering stars created magic and reopened my drive to search for new vessels, new navigation tools and new shipping routes."
As we sail onwards together into the stormy unknown, we are grateful for the vision and guidance that New Constellations provides for leaders brave enough to navigate rough seas and we wish them strength, wisdom and deep compassion for self and others as they journey onwards.
Find out more about New Constellations and the journey here.